Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Food and Fear

I've had a lifelong affair with food, as I expect many of you have had. It's a love/hate thing. Often, it's been abusive (on both sides, I might add). But all that changed, after many, many years, when I decided to stop getting on the scale and stop dieting.

Now that sounds easy, but of course it wasn't easy. Or fast. It was gradual. I also started exercising around the same time. I discovered other interests. My daughter left home for college, so I could totally control what food I had around me (that's a good AND a bad thing).

So when I find myself stuffing things willy-nilly into my mouth, I get worried. No, not worried. Scared. To. Death. As in terrified. Cuz I've been overweight, and I'm in no hurry to get back there.

I just read this article from the Washington Post about food cravings, and this last paragraph struck me:

Many desires for food mask other emotions. Are you tired, stressed, upset, sad, anxious, angry or just plain bored? If you're tired, consider a nap. If you're stressed, a walk or other physical activity may help. If you're angry, maybe a call or e-mail to a friend will help -- and keep you from consuming calories that you may not be hungry for. You get the idea.
Duh, right? Unless you allow yourself to become unconscious. Which it looks like, somehow, I have.

So now I have a bit of work to do, to figure out what exactly I am busily masking by eating like it's going out of style. Maybe it's just the fear of having completed this enormous goal—and not yet having another one quite as large to take its place.

Maybe it is some hormonal changes; or my body adapting to a reduced running schedule.

I honestly don't know. But it's starting to really freak me out.

I'm hoping a weekend with the monks (and by the way? the monastery I'm visitng this weekend is directly across the river from the C.I.A. That would be the Culinary Institute of America, where at least one monk studied. And now he's a monastery cook) will help me figure this out.

Or exorcise it.


L*I*S*A said...

Yep, perhaps a weekend with the monks is just what is needed. If things get too stressful, they can whip up a delish meal, too. ;)

LBTEPA said...

this is a bit too spooky for me - I just wrote about wanting to anaesthetise myself with carbs b/c I really dislike my Noddie when she's being that special infuriating 2yo brand of contrary.....and then doing it with chardonnay instead. :( oh well.
Enjoy the retreat :)

Wanna-be 5k-er said...

I think a monk weekend will help you reflect on it all. Food & I, too, love/hate relationship...


Waterfall said...

As a former fat person, I so know what you mean about being terrified of being fat again. Have a peaceful weekend, and all the best on figuring things out.

Susan said...

I sooo heearr youuu.

I have constant panicky fear of being 225 again . . . and yet, I can't stop shoveling food into my mouth. It's all good food but still it's way too much.

21st Century Mom said...

I have been eating like I was avoiding gnawing my arm off. I think 2 factors are at work:
1). I'm bored
2). I'm swimming alot and swimming induces false hunger.
3). eating for relief is a life long habit and I forget I'm not that person any more.

A monk weekend will help. The other thing that helps is FORCING yourself to eat well for a couple of days and then you re-become the person you are instead of the person you were. At least I do. Thanks for the reminder.

Laurie said...

I hear you on eating to fill a void. We don't always know what is causing the void, but it is there. Sometimes I give in but only to one piece of candy instead of six. It is a daily battle. We are right there with you sister!

susie said...

I have been having this issue since Halloween. Once I start, it's like I can't stop. I just ate two mint patties, three hard peppermint candies and a small Snickers bar--after I had my sandwich and carrots. Gah!! I'm guessing it's stress, so yeah, I should go take a walk.

Anita said...

It was emotional eating and obsession (addiction) to food that took me up to 325 pounds and kept me in that general ballpark for many years. And fear....that's a big one. It's been said, and I've found it true for me, that many initial emotions that come up (sadness, anger...) can be traced to fear. Fear of what? For me it usually breaks down into one of two fears:
1) Fear of not having enough. Enough things, time, friends, money, security, love, years of life.
2) Fear of not being enough. Smart enough, beautiful enough, healthy enough, skilled enough, enough enough.
Different fears but the solution for me is the same in both cases and it's a spiritual one. Trust in God. Trust that all that I need will be provided. Trust that who I have been created to be is enough. Trust assures me that not only will I have enough but I will have more than enough. At least that's been true for the first 50 years of my life.

Again, this is just my story, but when I'm not afraid, I tend to eat less because I don't need more of something, when I have enough of what it is I really need. And when I'm working on the spiritual solution then I'm more prone to be willing to commit to exercise and a healthy way of eating.

Goodness. Where did that major soapbox come from??!! Regardless, have a great time with the Monks. I hear they know how to party like it's 1999. But seriously...

Firefly's Running said...

I can not comment on this issues because I am indulging too much this week with my birthday and all. **sigh** I will comment when I get over the hump....on Sunday.

Stillwater Heron said...

When fall kicks in so does my desire for food.
I've been eating like a horse lately but after years and years of doing the same thing I know it will pass.
Storing up for the lean winter months I guess..
Except I'm human not an animal..
Enjoy your stay with the Monks!